The blog entry comes from Sean S .. a neat perspective and great memories of the ride!
There are certain events that you roll out of bed early to witness or participate in – cricket, fishing and yes cycling. If you were lucky enough to fall asleep your wake-up call came at around 4:00 a.m. Review your checklist and check it twice – bicycle, cycling kit (shorts & jersey), water bottles, energy gels, helmet and yes, remember your cycling shoes. Planned departure time was 5:15 am (EST), actual departure time was 5:50 am (TTZ – Trini Time Zone). There was concern that we would be late for the event since we were yet to pick-up our Support Team Director for the day – Lawerence. He would play a key role in being there whenever we needed him to replenish our beverages or food and some much needed motivation. I do believe his calculations to the finish line was a bit off, only 11 KM to the finish he yelled, I swore we rode at least 20 KM since then.
Coach was at the helm of white magic bus as we sped along the 401 and we rolled into Waterloo’s RIM Campus at 7:24 a.m. Lots of time to take care of nature’s call from all the hydration and that Starbucks Venti Bold Coffee and complete the registration process.
The initial weather forecast called for rain, however, Ms. Summer 2013 decided to finally show up today and it definitely brought along her close mate Mr. High Humidity 2013. We all got prepped, no need for a base-layer with the warm temperatures, timely hydration, food consumption and effort management would be essential. No one remembered Sun Block because we all expected rain except Steve – positive thinking.The temperature as we corralled at the start area at 8:15 am was a balmy 24 C and coupled with the humidex it felt like 30C. This would be a scorcher of a day – temperature and race pace.
After we had some motivational words from Canada’s most successful road cyclist – Steve Bauer, we rolled out at 8:35 am. The Hummingbirds were ready to fly represented by Chris L. , Peter S., Peter A., Steve J., Raoul V., Vernon H. and myself. I know they said rolling start, I’m almost certain they said rolling start but before we emerged from the RIM Campus onto the Main Street ( 350 m), other more aggressive cyclist were zipping by as we tried to keep our team intact. These other cyclist appeared to be making a mad dash for a Tim Horton’s Drive Thru Line or racing for a Big McD. It was chaotic, if you were not in your Big Chain-Ring it would be adios to the peloton. I down-shifted to keep pace, 1 KM covered and I’m already in 53/16. They certainly do not intend to keep this pace for all 130 KM. The key was to stick to my plan and stay close to the other Hummingbirds. I accomplished this with the help of this beast on a bike, this dude was at least 240 Lbs and at least 6′ 4″and he rolled by on a stealth looking Specialized…..aah, that’s the wheel. Welcome to wind protection 101. I was determined to stay in first-third of the peloton to avoid any accidents and to be able to quickly react if i needed to. The pace remained hot for the first 30 KM and eventually we formed a peloton of about 60 riders climbing hills like they were bumps with speeds between 35-43 KM.
We raced to the first rest stop, at this point I had already consumed 1-1/2 large bottles of my special hydration concoction, a gel and I required more fluids. I was worried, I needed to ensure that I latch on to some more liquids, we approached the first rest stop at around 35 KM/H. This is a difficult task. My first attempt failed, the bottle of water and I were friends for 3 seconds before it slipped from my hand onto the steamy pavement. I need to grab something. The Gatorade Gods deliver, I successfully latched on to 710ml of liquid heaven. It did not matter that it was my least favorite flavor – orange, yuck…..I swigged that back like it was an Iced Cold Carib, ok Bud Light Lime. I can’t recall ever drinking that much fluid in 7 seconds while pummeling at 35KM/H, I sucked that bottle almost dry and being a very considerate person I asked if anyone wanted a drink. There were no takers so I whipped that bottle which sailed pass this stunned cow just chilling under a tree.
The pace continued and so did the heat, at mid-day the temperature was around 35C. You know we are clipping when we are navigating and zooming by the Mennonites and their horse drawn buggies at speeds upwards of 48 KM/H. The race speed and the temperature remained hot all day………hot and humid, humid and hot welcome Ms. Summer 2013 and Mr. High Humidity 2013. Summer is finally here……….
Our boys made a very strong showing at the Tour of Waterloo 2013. The Tour is a mass participation, OCA sanctioned, Gran Fondo – chip timed event with proceeds supporting the Grand River Hospital Foundation and KW Counselling Services. The event is geared to all kinds of roadies; racers, serious cyclists, the weekend road warrior and recreational non-competitive riders. All of the Hummingbirds chose to do the 130 km ride.
The day started early for us with Vernon doing pickups in the extended length van. Registration closed at 7:35 and with a long drive ahead of us, we were all up well before dawn. I knew right off the start it was going to be a great day as there was lots of laughter and teasing as we made our way down to Waterloo, One guy, who shall remain nameless, was at risk from motion sickness and was threatening to do the ugly upchuck … fortunately he was able to get on top of the nausea.
In the picture above, Lawrence, Christopher, Steve, Peter S, Peter A, Vernon, Sean and Raoul.
One of the big keys to our having a safe, fun ride was Lawrence, yes he offloaded bikes, put on numbers and generally did whatever people asked of him at the start. Following the start he followed the route in the van. He was joined in the van by Peter S’s family who provided great support, passing us water and food and of course the cheering support that make the pedals go around so much easier.
Vern’s van has become the team vehicle, this large vehicle easily swallowed the bikes, coolers and bags and, of course, all of the team.
The start was a mass of cyclists. There were approximately 500 of us all sitting on the line to get going, with lots of nervous energy welling up inside of us. We made small talk with our own guys and those around us. We waited impatiently for the start as all of the speakers did their thing and then a local singer performed O Canada.
Pretty soon, we were on our way, led out by Steve Bauer, one of Canada’s most successful cyclists ever … anyone remember his silver medal finish at 1984 Olympic Road Race in Los Angeles, or his Tour de France performance when he wore the yellow for 5 days, riding with La Vie Claire, with team members like Hinault and LeMond.
We were supposed to have an easy 5km roll out to allow cyclists to get safely started and sorted … So much for that as the pace was around 40 kph right off the bat. In the picture above you can see Peter S, rolling easily for the early part of the ride. No need to rush … 130km is a long ride!
The course was patrolled by police, with all intersections being controlled to allow us to keep rolling at full speed. Awesome job by the cops … these men and women were also holding out water for anyone who needed hydration!
The team stayed together for most of the ride as we rolled along sometimes in the draft of the big pack, other times taking pulls at the front. The group we were in were rolling along at speeds between 35 – 45 kph, depending on the terrain.
Team work was evident as we supported one another, including vivid memories of Christopher doing the role of domestique with bottles bulging out of his pockets; Vernon moving around trying to settle us down and not to overwork; Steve checking in on riders to find out how they were feeling; Peter S pacing and encouraging those who were beginning to feel the effects of the course.
The finish line was a welcome sight for all of the cyclists … temperatures were in the high 20’s with lots of humidity. In addition, the course was pretty challenging .. lots of rolling hills from start to the end of the course.
The 1st place finished covered the 130 km course in 3 hours 07 minutes, with an average speed of 41.6 km! Pretty awesome!
The results for the Hummingbirds are shown below.
Male 30-39 Results – 130 km
|39||LAMONT, Christopher||Hummingbirds CC||4h 22′ 17||29.7|
Male 40-49 Results – 130 km
|86||SANEY, Sean||Hummingbirds CC||4h 22′ 19″||29.7|
|93||VIVERO, Raoul||Hummingbirds CC||5h 00′ 46″||25.9|
Male 50-59 Results – 130 km
|48||SOO LUM, Peter||Hummingbirds CC||4h 17′ 16″||30.3|
Male 60+ Results – 130 km
|6||ALKINS, Peter||Hummingbirds CC||4h 21′ 30″||29.8|
|7||HUTCHINSON, Vernon||Hummingbirds CC||4h 21′ 30″||29.8|
After the event, we sat and had the meal provide by the organizers and talked with other cyclists. Steve Bauer was charged with handing out the prizes for top 3 finishers in each category.
Soon we had the bikes loaded and we were heading back to Toronto talking about the day’s memories, laughing at the banter that you can only understand when you are in a team van. Everyone did agree … This is certainly an event that we will put in the calendar for next year!by hummingbirdscc
Congratulations to Lorenzo for a very strong 3rd place finish in the TinyMites!
In the Masters 60+, Peter and Kelvin continue to shine, placing 3rd and 4th respectively!
Hummingbirds closed the chapter on another Rideau lakes Cycling Tour 2013, but not the memories of enduring and conquering this very challenging ride! Our team pictured above, comprised of Steve, Peter S, Ghislain, Peter A, and Vernon.
About the tour
The RLCT is a long standing event, with many optional routes, the most popular being the Classic, covering 177 km each way. On Saturday the ride leaves Ottawa and heads to Kingston. On Sunday we reverse the route and return to Ottawa.
The most apt way I have heard the tour classified was that it is not a ride for the faint of heart. The ride finds ways to test even the most seasoned cyclist … the unpredictable weather, the wind, the sun, the rain, the rolling hills, the sometimes patchy road, sleeping in university dorms again and, oh yes, the university meals to start and end the days!
Regardless of these factors, the tour draws over 2,000 cyclists and is sold out quickly every year, with many eagerly waiting to get off the wait list onto the confirmed starter list. Ottawa Bicycle Club is obviously doing something correct to draw these many people year after year. This was the 42 year of the tour!
Our tour started with the boys driving up to Ottawa from Toronto on Friday. Vern’s extended length van served as the team vehicle, carrying bikes, bags and coolers full of food and drink.
We checked into AlgonquinCollege on a rainy Friday evening, looking at the sky and looking for any chance of sunshine in the distance … the bad news – not a hint of the sun anywhere; the good news – the rain was now a light drizzle.
We got out to the all important team dinner, a chance to reconnect and to talk about what we want to accomplish over the weekend.
After we got back from dinner it was time to make final preparations to the bikes, some guys were mounting tubulars that night … name starts with a V…
We were up at 5:00 am to go get breakfast, to register in and to get ready to roll. We got outside the dorm and yes, it is still drizzling and the roads are very wet. Hmmm, this was going to be a ‘fun’ ride!
We loaded up the van and headed to the start. There were cyclists everywhere, all forming up with their teams or with their friends. We rolled slowly off the line at 7:20 am. No need to rush. We had a long ride ahead of us. We rode out of Ottawa, clean bikes instantly becoming brown and throwing rooster tails of spray that immediately started spattering rain jackets and faces.
We took it easy for the first couple hours and after 70 km it is mostly dry but the damage is already done – bikes are dirty, we are damp, even though we have rain jackets. Riding with this gear is fine, but once we stop we almost instantly chilly. The team van driven by Killy, our most loyal supporter of many tours, was in Perth waiting for us. What a welcome sight! He had his usual broad smile, food, water and a willing hand for anyone who needed something done. Having a team vehicle makes a world of difference as yuo have access to anything you need. Some of us used the opportunity of this stop to change into dry socks. Note Ghislain with only one sock in the picture below!
The rest of the day is uneventful. We rolled along for the remaining 100 km with some larger groups and then realized we were missing one rider. We stopped at a rest area and waited. After some time we decide to ride out and to send the van back to look for the missing rider.
In the last leg we suffered our first mechanical – Peter S got a flat. On the way down we saw at least 50 flats … perhaps it is the wet allowing things to adhere to the wheels, eventually causing punctures.
We rolled along but Vern was hampered by a cold that he had had before the event. He gritted out the ride and we got to Kingston after 6 hours and 15 minutes of cycling, making our average speed 28.3 kph for the trip. Not bad for a rainy day.
Some of the team stayed at Queen’s University, while others opted for a stay at a nearby hotel.
The biggest tasks ahead were to clean the bikes, to have a hearty dinner and to get clothes ready for Sunday. We went to dinner and said early goodnights.
Sunday morning came early. Again, we were up just after 5am again and got the van loaded for an early start.
We rolled off the line again at 7:20 am in sunshine, but it was a slightly chilly 12C.
Again, our plan was very simple, stay together and keep the pace steady. We rolled along in the cool morning breeze, chatting and warming up, bracing for the hills that inevitably face us as we went north.
Somehow as we hit the hills they seemed to be less daunting than they had been in years before. Gearing used is a mix of 39 x 21, 23, 25.
As the weather warms we stop in Perth for a quick bite and a refill of water and some riders used this opportunity to remove some of the cold weather gear.
We realize we have only 80 km to go and we start a steady ride towards Ottawa. The pace line forms and we are covering the distance smoothly. The Hummingbirds are humming. Pulls at the front are steady and generally not long.
We got many comments along the road as people comment on our bright and matching team uniforms. Many riders want to know where we are from. The larger benefit of our team colours is that we are respected as a unit and are not invaded by other riders cutting into our pace line.
We are heartened as the miles click off and the weather allows us to stop remove all remaining cold weather gear and get our last feeding to make the final push into Ottawa.
After 6 hours and 10 minutes of cycling we reached Ottawa, tired but elated for having conquered the tour another year … smiles and high fives are everywhere you look. Riders, who don’t know one another, were congratulating each other.
We checked our finish time and are pleased that we were slightly faster than the trip down. Our average speed is a respectable 28.7kph, but still below our best of 30kph, some years before.
After a little bit of celebrating, its time to get cleaned up, to pack up the van and to hit the road for Toronto.
We are a satisfied, happy bunch of cyclists already talking about returning to the tour in 2014!by hummingbirdscc